On Tuesday, Oct. 16, President Obama and Governor Romney met for the second time in the debate cycle this month. This time it was a bit of a different setting. Hofstra University, located on Long Island in Hempstead, New York, was the college that provided the venue for the one-and-only town hall style debate. Candy Crowley, host of CNN’s State of the Union, moderated the debate while both candidates took questions from a highly selective audience. The TV-prepped crowd was said to include 82 currently undecided voters from around the area.
Starting just a minute or two after 9:00 p.m., the discussion began with a question from a student named Jeremy on the topic of whether or not he will have a job when he graduates in two years. From that point forward, both Obama and Romney gave their strategic and subjective responses to that and each of the following questions within the next hour-and-a-half.
The media and politicos across the country predicted a decisive victory for the Obama campaign after what many considered a harsh loss to Romney in the first debate. It is, at this point, perceived that Obama did, in fact, win the debate. He replied to questions with serious answers and gave reasoning as to why he claimed Romney’s various statements on issues like Libya and education were truly false. The opinion at Suffolk was definitely similar to those throughout the United States.
A notably registered Independent, as well as a sophomore here at Suffolk, Blayne Lee said he watched the first Presidential debate, but did not yet get a chance to view the Vice Presidential debate that aired last week.
Lee, an English major, explained that he will most likely be supporting Obama for several reasons including the fact that he considers him “socially liberal” and thinks that “Mitt Romney is a social buffoon.” When it comes to social issues, Lee follows some of them closely such as same-sex marriage, abortion, as well as separation of church and state.
At the end of Tuesday’s debate, Lee proudly proclaimed that he believed Obama had won the debate.
It was noticed by most commentators and debate-watchers Tuesday night that, per usual, the two Presidential candidates were trying hard to be as sincere, honest, and personal as possible with each and every person’s question. This is not anything new, and is basically considered the regular fashion for town hall forums every four years when the candidates actually answer questions from real voters — as almost a reality voter awareness night of some sorts.
When it came to the concerns of there not being enough security during the American embassy terrorist attacks in Libya, Obama criticized Romney for trying to say that the President was “playing politics” with the matter.
Among other subjects discussed were tax cuts, ways to actually create jobs, energy plans for the country, and, particularly a hot button issue, gun control.
Ali Rabesa, a junior at Suffolk majoring in American history, is still undecided at this point but is leaning towards voting to re-elect Obama. As an Independent voter, Rabesa has true potential to swing the outcome of the election; most people are looking at swing states like Ohio, Nevada, and Florida to see how moderates and undecided voters will cast their ballots.
On another note, even though there are two other official Presidential candidates, the Libertarian Party’s Gary Johnson of New Mexico and the Green Party’s Jill Stein, the two third-party candidates were, and never really are, allowed to participate in the Presidential debates.
Outside the David S. Mack Sports and Exhibition Complex (where the debate took place Tuesday evening), Stein and her Vice Presidential running mate Cheri Honkala were arrested for trying to get inside the debate halls to let Stein also have a chance to answer the questions.
In the end, the debate went over the planned 90-minute mark and ended 8 minutes later at 10:38 p.m.
The next, and final, debate is on Monday, October 22 at Lynn University in Boca Raton, FL.